Tuesday, 15 November 2016

DEATH IN NIPER POOL; Kin allege police inaction, want CBI inquiry

Mohali, November 14 Tribune News Service

Around two months after a 40-year-old man drowned in a swimming pool at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) at Sector 67 here, family members of the deceased alleged police inaction in the case. They also demanded that the NIPER authorities should also be made a party in the case. Saroj Bagga, wife of the deceased Sunil Bagga, alleged that after two months of the incident, there was no development in the case. “The accused are roaming free and nothing has been done against the NIPER authorities in this regard,” said Saroj. She alleged that her husband had drowned due to sheer negligence and improper infrastructure at the pool. Sunil Bagga, a manager with Ola Cabs and a resident of Phase XI, had drowned in the pool on September 11 when he went there, along with his six-year-old son, Ishit, for swimming. The police had booked two persons, Davinder Lamba, a Delhi-based contractor, who has been given the pool on a contract basis and his manager-cum-trainer, Rajiv, under Section 304A of the IPC (death due to negligence) at the Phase XI Police Station, here on the complaint of Saroj Bagga. The police claimed that they had recorded the statements of the contractor’s staff and other authorities concerned at the NIPER. The deceased’s viscera report is still be awaited. Wing Commander PJP Singh Waraich (retd), registrar at NIPER, said the pool had been closed since the incident occurred. “The police have recorded our statements. As per the clause of the contract, the entire responsibility of the pool is lying with the contractor,” said the Registrar. The family also demanded CBI inquiry into the case.

PRESS BRIEFING 14th Nov 2016, Mohali


  1. The press conference has been called for drawing attention of relevant authorities on the incident happened at NIPER swimming pool on 11th Sep 2016.
  2. To refresh our memories – My husband Mr. Sunil Baggadied via drowning at NIPER swimming pool at 815 AM Sunday 11th Sep 2016. His post mortem report confirmed death by drowning. We blame the authorities including NIPER Management and NIPER pool contractor are to be held responsible for the unfortunate incident.The same has been mentioned in the FIR.
  3. As per eye-witnesses and people who brought him to the hospital
    1. There were absolutely no life-saving arrangements at the swimming pool
    2. Swimming pool attendants responded very late to the calls for help. Nobody seemed to be trained on life saving techniques.
    3. Ishat (6-Year old son), who was with Sunil at the time of incident, created some noise desperately but no prompt help was provided.
    4. There was no administration of CPR at the pool which could have saved Sunil’s life
    5. There was no vehicle available at the pool to transport Sunil to the nearby hospital. Sunil was moved to the hospital in a member’s car.
    6. This whole process took more than half an hour and by the time Sunil reached Silver Oaks hospital (which is less than 1 km from NIPER) was dead.
    7. Immediately after the incident, the NIPER pool staff was busy filling up the oxygen cylinders (Photographs available).
  4. We would like to comment on the investigation aspect of this case –
    1. Today is 14th Nov. More than 60 days have passed. Not even a single person from Police or NIPER has come to meet us to take our statements or offer help of any kind. What kind of an investigation is this wherein the key witnesses and people are not even asked once about the incident?
    2. We named NIPER management in the statement but only contractors are mentioned in the accused category. We demand NIPER management to be made party to the accused as they fail to enforce or audit the terms and conditions of the contract with the contractor.
    3. We checked with all the other eye-witnesses at the time of incident, no one has been quizzed by Police as yet.
    4. NIPER is such a reputed institution of the country. They get paid through the taxes we deposit. Don’t they have any humanitarian ground to come and talk to us and offer condolences at a minimum.
    5. Even after the incident, NIPER contractor was willing to reopen the pool after two days. It was only after the citizen’s protest that the pool couldn’t open. 
  5. As a result of this incident, our lives are shattered.
    1. We have no source of income at this point of time
    2. We don’t have very strong financial background
    3. We have to shift house as we can’t afford the rent anymore
    4. Father-in-law has gone through a major surgery few months back
    5. Children education is suffering as there’s no one to take responsibility and they may not be able to continue.
  6. Through some very reliable sources, we have come to understand the following –
    1. NIPER residents and other regular members have complained to the pool authorities about the safety aspects time to time but to no avail.
    2. A letter was issued by Chief Security office to the pool contractor on 03rd June 2015 about following terms of the contract clearly mentioning concerns about safety/security aspects, additional construction, tampering with the meters, deposit of the money etc.
    3. One member,Mr. KapilDev Sharma, wrote an email to the NIPER authorities on 09th October 2015 complaining about the dirty water. A comprehensive report was subsequently filed by Chief Maintenance Engineer on investigation. The report clearly mentioned violation of almost all key terms of the contract by the contractor as asked in the letter mentioned above on 03rd June.
    4. It was also suggested by CME that contract should to be terminated if contractor is not following the terms. Contrary to CME suggestion, Pool’s contract was actually renewed for 2016 as well. Situation remain the same in current season too.
    5. It will be pertinent to mention that immediately after the incident, pool staff was shown filling up the oxygen cylinders – photo was duly published in media on 12th Sep.
    6. We’re in possession of another NIPER internal reportwhich hints that NIPER management seems to believe everything is fine at the swimming pool and hinting that pool should not be held responsible for Sunil’s death.
    7. We have talked with many people who have enrolled for the pool but don’t use it for fear of lack of safety options and other health hazards.
  7. Given the evidence we have and our personal experiences, I have little faith that investigation will be done properly in the current context. There seems to be deliberate attempt to let this incident fade away and evidences get diluted.
  8. Common citizen lives matter. If a death and shattered lives can’t be enough for the NIPER and police authorities then what will? I just wonder. NIPER gets its funds from the tax we pay to the government – right? Somebody dies in NIPER campus and they seem to be siding with the accused party for which sufficient evidence exist of malpractices. How many deaths it will take for the NIPER management for wake up.  I want CBI enquiry into it.

SarojBagga (Wife) / IshatBagga(Age 6) / PrachiBagga (14)

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